We experienced a strong wind storm recently. It blew down many trees, including a large ponderosa pine that had been leaning precariously over a downtown parking lot for many years. The tree had an iconic presence, one of the few remaining large trees of its kind in the downtown area. Fortunately, no one was hurt and no vehicles were damaged. I mourn the tree’s passing like I would a close friend. But, mostly, I am in awestruck by the power of wind.
Like all the elementals of nature (earth, water, fire, wind, space), wind teaches us about the power of what we cannot grasp. Wind swirls and changes direction. We cannot know when or where. In the New Testament, John 3:8 states, “The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Here John is revealing the truth of emptiness, our essential nature. “All we are is dust in the wind,” as the Kansas song suggests.
I often reflect that wind is very much a vehicle of compassion. Without air currents, we would have no weather—no clouds, no rainstorms, no clear skies, no life. Love flies in the wind to bless us all. Our responsibility is to cooperate with the energy as it flows around and through us. We can move like the Khandro, sky-dancer, the emanation of our wisdom nature. We cannot grasp her energy but we can fly alongside her.
A powerful symbol of wind, the Windhorse, is printed on the millions of prayer flags one sees from the high Himalayas to random front porches in almost every town. The Windhorse is a legendary Tibetan creature, considered to carry prayers from the earth to the heavenly gods using the strength and speed of the wind. This symbol is thought to possess a potent energy that carries power and strength to the lives of all beings who come into contact with the wind. Also known as Lung-ta in Tibetan, the Windhorse is coupled with the “Wish Fulfilling Jewel of Enlightenment,” which accomplishes the compassionate aspirations of all beings.
We recently installed new prayer flags by the Dharma Center. In this moment I am watching them flap in the breeze, sending prayers on the wind to bless all beings. I join my prayers and mantras with the same intent. May all beings have happiness. May their suffering cease. May they experience boundless joy. May they be free from divisive thoughts of self and other. May they know compassion is available in every breath of wind.